Ivanka Trump’s time in the White House has been horrible for America. But hey, at least it’s been great for her Instagram feed.
And right now, that might be the only thing that matters for Ivanka. She now has a highlights reel for every possible plan (for high office? for something), a glossy assortment of action shots from the world stage—posing at Buckingham Palace, barnstorming the Heartland, and gesticulating, Hillary-style, on the campaign trail in Georgia.
Her father’s administration crippled the country to the point of a violent attempted insurrection, but you know, Ivanka’s got content.
Watch: Where do Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner go from here?
As Joe Biden’s inauguration looms, the first daughter’s reputation continues to crumble. Never mind the failed, hideously violent Capitol coup, which would normally be a big buzz kill for any influencer’s image. The Washington Post reported that the Kushners did not allow secret service to use the restroom at their Kalorama mansion, an anecdote that tells you everything you need to know about this ghoulish couple.
Call it classic rich kid brattiness or a more complicated kind of delusion, but for Ivanka the future is still bright, or it is in her determination to just carry on regardless. NBC News reports she may not be going to Biden’s swearing-in—if she was ever invited at all.
But she’s been spotted in New York this week, getting her hair done, business as usual. She was surrounded by her security detail—at least, one presumes, they got to use the salon’s restroom.
Perhaps somewhere a posh, overpaid consultant is pounding away at a pitch slideshow detailing Ivanka’s potential comeback. The slides would be pink, and the text would be in a gilded Pinterest font, à la Ivanka’s good old days as a shoe designer, who largely ripped off styles made by other people. Will anyone take that meeting?
It seems unlikely, given that the city of New York just severed all contracts with the Trump Organization, cutting off about $17 million in revenue. Prominent New York art dealers who were once close with Jarvanka, as the couple’s portmanteau goes, have sworn off ever working with them again. At least publicly.
We must not doubt Ivanka’s knack for reinvention; like father, like daughter, this woman knows branding. As the New York Times noted shortly after Ivanka joined the Trump administration, in 2013 the Kushners decided to curate a new, softer, more marketable identity.
“[Ivanka] and her husband gathered with a few employees in front of a whiteboard in their Upper East Side apartment,” the Times wrote. “Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In had just topped the best-seller charts, and Ms. Trump’s team wanted its own catchy yet accessible slogan. The brainstorming solidified a new motto: ‘Women Who Work.’”
To say nothing of the fact that it took an entire team of people to come up with that asinine catchphrase, the anecdote proves where Ivanka’s priorities lie. Instead of morals, she has messaging. She went from sexy socialite to monied mommy blogger because she knew the look would sell.
And when it came time to lead America, she turned full MAGA. There was once the belief that Ivanka, who only switched her voter registration from Democrat to Republican in 2018—just in time for the midterm elections—would push a liberal agenda on her father.
As the naïveté went: she was from New York. She knew gay people, she knew working mothers, after all, she was one. She surely must understand the urgency of the climate crisis. Leonardo DiCaprio even met with her to discuss it.
But then Trump began systematically rolling back protections for LGBTQ people; he banned transgender individuals from serving in the military. His administration separated some 628 migrant children from their parents. He withdrew from the Paris Agreement.
Yet there was Ivanka, in power suits and a megawatt smile, redirecting our attention to her supposed accomplishments. There was the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative, the pet project she never shut up about.
She claimed to empower women to be entrepreneurs, but ignored the social blockades put up by her father’s administration, which continuously attempted to strip women of their right to contraception both in this country and abroad.
In short, she grifted. It was a page out of her father’s playbook, except that she looked good doing it. Well, except for all those times she stood, hollow and ghost-like, like the time she posed for photos at Buckingham Palace looking robotically villainous in her state visit dress up.
Plenty of people have made passionate, convincing cases of how Ivanka’s hometown has essentially disowned her. She’s not welcome in New York, the common theory goes. Ivanka is also a main subject in two separate, ongoing fraud investigations led by the state—not quite a ticker-tape return.
But go back to February 2015, the winter before Trump infamously announced his candidacy via that tacky golden escalator ride. Vogue published a flattering profile of Ivanka, swathed in tweed Erdem while she coddled her baby son. “Ivanka Trump Knows What It Means to Be a Modern Millennial,” the headline, apparently written in earnest, read.
Of course, Vogue has since condemned their former beacon of cool-corporate style. In the summer of 2017, the glossy declared: “Look, It’s Time to Collectively and Officially Give Up on Ivanka Trump.” But as Ginia Bellafante reported for The New York Times in November, a representative for the magazine declined to comment on a simple-enough question: “Will Ms. Trump [ever] be invited to the Met Gala going forward?”
As the sub-headline of the article read: “The dispiriting truth of New York City: You can always eat lunch in this town again.”
But as the Upper East Side holds its breath, another zip code is gearing for a fight. Though the pair just bought a $40 million “Billionaire’s Bunker” on a Florida island community, and will count Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen as neighbors, Page Six reports that the accompanying Indian Creek Country Club does not want them to join.
“The Indian Creek Country Club members are very picky and the word is that Javanka need not apply,” a source told the tabloid. (The club has been criticized for denying Jewish people and people of color in the past.)
Who knows what tested personality Ivanka will pick up next? Her Instagram is now a flurry of pro-Trump posts; at this point she seems primed to go the most MAGA route imaginable. Wherever she goes, she will walk with that mystifying confidence seen on display these past four years. Ivanka’s future looks bright—if you ask Ivanka.
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